A-Designs ATTY vs SMPro Nano Patch vs NHT PVC Pro: My Findings
Old 1st September 2009
  #1
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A-Designs ATTY vs SMPro Nano Patch vs NHT PVC Pro: My Findings

I just performed a pseudo-scientific listening test including three very popular volume attenuators and thought I might share my findings here.

I ran a pre-recorded stereo track out of my Lynx Aurora converters, through a volume attenuator, and then back into the Lynx Aurora at three different levels of attenuation: -0db, -20dB, and -40dB. Here is a brief recap of my experiences:

A-Designs ATTY - $99.99
EDITED 10/9/09: The ATTY tracked very nicely throughout it's attenuation range. While I initially found the ATTY's sound quality to be slightly less than perfectly transparent, a null test has proven that my ATTY is in fact entirely transparent.

SMPro Nano Patch - $59.99
Don't let the price of the Nano Patch fool you. This pot tracked very well throughout it's range and sounded extremely transparent.

NHT PVC Pro - $79.00
The PVC Pro sounded great at the top of it's range from a sonic quality standpoint but the left-to-right tracking fell apart below about -35dB. Above that point it's sound was excellent and stereo tracking was good. Beyond that point the stereo image shifts almost 5dB to one side by the end of it's attenuation range.

Last edited by PheelTheMusic; 10th October 2009 at 04:41 AM.. Reason: Facts are good.
Old 1st September 2009
  #2
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Obitheincredible's Avatar
 

Thats really sweet! I'm gonna buy the NHT!
Old 1st September 2009
  #3
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dalley's Avatar
 

thanks for doing this as I was looking to get the SM Nano Patch (seems like they have been out of stock everywhere recently). Based on your eval, I will probably still get the Nano Patch!

Old 2nd September 2009
  #4
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Based on your findings, I would run far and fast from the NHT PVC Pro, having the stereo image shift around is a real deal killer for me.
Old 2nd September 2009
  #5
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666666's Avatar
Can anyone comment on the SM Pro Audio MPatch 2 Passive Volume Control / Switch Box? This is EXACTLY what I need for my new small remote room. If this unit isn't excellent, can anyone recommend another product with a nearly identical lay-out / size etc? Thanks.
Old 2nd September 2009
  #6
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I use the ATTYs and fwiw, I find no haziness at all. Tracks well and the image is great.
Old 2nd September 2009
  #7
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pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BLueROom View Post
I use the ATTYs and fwiw, I find no haziness at all. Tracks well and the image is great.
plus one, i have pair love em: )~
Old 2nd September 2009
  #8
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robot gigante's Avatar
I've used the Atty2D, the Atty, and the NHTpro and noticed no real difference. The NHTpro I used didn't have a major tracking problem like the unit you tested, but it is not uncommon I think in a lot of units also besides these ones, like the Central Station. Some units seem to have it more than others, even ones built by the same company. You bypass it by calibrating your setup so that you can turn it down enough before it gets into the range where the stereo tracking falls apart.
Old 2nd September 2009
  #9
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Leon EA's Avatar
 

Whatever you buy, when unpacking do a loop test like this right away to at least check the quality if the pot. Of all these units (and others) I've heard both good and bad stories. In this price class, you can get a good unit or a poor one, it seems to be random.
Old 2nd September 2009
  #10
Gear Head
 

666666,

Mpatch 2 user for the last year and a half with no problems. Doesn't color the sound or have any stereo tracking issues in my experience. The headphone amp isn't the greatest so it stays unplugged. My ipod stays plugged into the aux input and is great for listening to tunes without having to fire up the computer. It's well built and has a nice feel to it. I looked but couldn't find much else for less than double the price when I replaced my Mackie HUI's "colorful" monitor section.

Pheel the Music,

Thanks for the review. Sounds like a nano patch would be perfect for my home/mobile system.
Old 2nd September 2009
  #11
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PheelTheMusic's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLueROom View Post
I use the ATTYs and fwiw, I find no haziness at all. Tracks well and the image is great.
I agree that the stereo tracking was great on the ATTY and I suppose I should clarify that we're talking about minute details on the quality front. To me it was maybe 95/100 compared to 100/100 for the others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leon EA View Post
Whatever you buy, when unpacking do a loop test like this right away to at least check the quality if the pot. Of all these units (and others) I've heard both good and bad stories. In this price class, you can get a good unit or a poor one, it seems to be random.
I suppose that's the great challenge with all of these pots. The same model with different actual pots may lead Fletcher to call one model "unusable garbage" on one hand and cause BlueRoom and Pan60 to love em!

So take my comments with a grain of salt!!!!
Old 2nd September 2009
  #12
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sethmeister's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post
Can anyone comment on the SM Pro Audio MPatch 2 Passive Volume Control / Switch Box? This is EXACTLY what I need for my new small remote room. If this unit isn't excellent, can anyone recommend another product with a nearly identical lay-out / size etc? Thanks.

Bought one recently and am perfectly happy with it. Best deal out there on low price monitor controller / switcher boxes. Is perfectly transparent as far as I can tell.
Old 3rd September 2009
  #13
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666666's Avatar
Thanks fellas. This SM Pro Audio MPatch 2 thing seems almost too good to be true at $149. I'm a firm believer in the "you get what you pay for" rule, but... I guess as long as it's cleaner than the Mackie 1402VLZ I've been temporarily using as a volume controller, it'll do. I'm not doing ultra critical mixing through this thing, but I still want a decent quality device.

Anyone familiar with the Goldpoint stuff? Ultra expensive, stepped attenuators etc... I wonder how the SM Pro Audio unit stacks up?

I'd guess that in a flat out battle to the death in terms of absolute perfect sonic clarity and perfect tracking, the Goldpoint SA2X would beat the SM Pro Audio MPatch 2 (I'd hope so since it's like 4 times the price or whatever), but the SM Pro Audio unit has a few extra features that will really come in handy (like a mute button for instance) that the Goldpoint does not have... so then when you start weighing the price and features, the SM Pro Audio starts to come out on top... BUT, that is assuming that it's SONIC performance is indeed pretty darn good (as in at least as good or better than a Mackie 1402VLZ! ... and not worse!)

Well, at $149, the SM Pro Audio MPatch2 is cheap enough to take a chance on I guess.

Thanks for the reviews so far
Old 3rd September 2009
  #14
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turk sanchez's Avatar
Another happy ATTY user here. Turns my 1968 into a killer distortion box!
Old 3rd September 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PheelTheMusic View Post
I just performed a pseudo-scientific listening test including three very popular volume attenuators and thought I might share my findings here.
Good initiative on the test.
A double blind or even a basic null test accompanied by the associated audio files would be really good on this sort of thing.
Old 3rd September 2009
  #16
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundrick View Post
Good initiative on the test.
A double blind or even a basic null test accompanied by the associated audio files would be really good on this sort of thing.
I did test blind although I did not yet null test. I will certainly do so in the near future!
Old 10th September 2009
  #17
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post
Thanks fellas. This SM Pro Audio MPatch 2 thing seems almost too good to be true at $149. I'm a firm believer in the "you get what you pay for" rule, but... I guess as long as it's cleaner than the Mackie 1402VLZ I've been temporarily using as a volume controller, it'll do. I'm not doing ultra critical mixing through this thing, but I still want a decent quality device.
I'm happy to second the quality of the MPatch 2, pots are very smooth, and don't lose stereo image at low levels (or at least mine doesn't :-)) I've not had loads of experience with different monitor controls but I was using the master section of an ATI 8MX2 for ages and this isn't a cheap box but the SM pro cheapy blew it away. I'm monitoring on Genelec 1037B's.
Old 10th September 2009
  #18
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The Listener's Avatar
+1 for M-Patch 2.

Only after a year or two (wow, how time passes) the output selection buttons stopped jumping back automatically upon pressing, so I have to pull them out now (cheap plastic mechanism probably) - but no biggy... sounds (or better: doesn't sound) great.
Old 10th September 2009
  #19
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TornadoTed's Avatar
 

Interesting that in the UK the SM Pro Nano Patch is £38 and the NHT PVC Pro is £165

Amazing as there is only $20 between them in the US!

The ATTY is £99
Old 10th September 2009
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundSource View Post
I'm happy to second the quality of the MPatch 2, pots are very smooth, and don't lose stereo image at low levels (or at least mine doesn't :-)) I've not had loads of experience with different monitor controls but I was using the master section of an ATI 8MX2 for ages and this isn't a cheap box but the SM pro cheapy blew it away. I'm monitoring on Genelec 1037B's.
Were you comparing the SM Pro against the 8mx2 Mixbus pot or the Monitor pot?

I had been using the Mixbus pot on my 8mx2 to control my monitors. Then I did an A/B between the Mixbus pot and the Monitor pot on the 8mx2, and found that the Monitor pot (and its associated circuitry) to be much cleaner and better sounding than the Mixbus pot. The difference was quite dramatic.
Old 13th September 2009
  #21
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rrraaalllfff's Avatar
 

nano patch upgrade?

I have and use two atty's. I don't have a problem with them, except the fact that the cables come out either side and make them impractical to have close at hand. The nano patch has its connections in the back which seems ideal for my desk, and I was wondering if it's hard to upgrade the pot to something better? Maybe even stepped? I'm not a big diy-er but I'm guessing replacing a pot isn't too hard. Anyone try this? What could be possible pot brands models?

cheers
Old 13th September 2009
  #22
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666666's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrraaalllfff View Post
....I was wondering if it's hard to upgrade the pot to something better? Maybe even stepped? I'm not a big diy-er but I'm guessing replacing a pot isn't too hard. Anyone try this? What could be possible pot brands models?cheers
These would seem to be good but I have not yet used one....

Prices

For stereo, stay stepped if you can, very many non-stepped controls, even "good" ones, never seem to track as well as you'd want them to. And when a stereo attenuator does not track well, it can be EXTREMELY annoying, even for casual listening purposes.

You can also buy a complete attenuator box from Goldpoint, it's probably good stuff, but a bit pricy in my opinion. Coleman makes some cool control boxes too with stepped attenuators.
Old 14th September 2009
  #23
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rrraaalllfff's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post
These would seem to be good but I have not yet used one....

Prices

For stereo, stay stepped if you can, very many non-stepped controls, even "good" ones, never seem to track as well as you'd want them to. And when a stereo attenuator does not track well, it can be EXTREMELY annoying, even for casual listening purposes.

You can also buy a complete attenuator box from Goldpoint, it's probably good stuff, but a bit pricy in my opinion. Coleman makes some cool control boxes too with stepped attenuators.
Thanks for the link. Yeah a Coleman box is more than I need since I don't need any switching (I already have their LS3 line selector which suits my needs perfectly). Just needing a high quality volume knob without breaking the bank too much. Gotta save up for more 500 stuff... I'm hooked. The Goldpoint boxes look great! Sadly a little pricey for me at the moment. I think the same quality is probably attainable with some light soldering work for less money.

cheers
Old 14th September 2009
  #24
Gear addict
 
rrraaalllfff's Avatar
 

Just noticed that Goldpoint stepped attenuator for balanced stereo would never fit in a nano patch . O well.... Maybe I just have to consider purchasing a Goldpoint box. Buying the attenuator, good connections, and a nice box brings me closer to the price of a new SAX1 anyways. CRAP!
Old 14th September 2009
  #25
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post
Thanks fellas. This SM Pro Audio MPatch 2 thing seems almost too good to be true at $149. I'm a firm believer in the "you get what you pay for" rule, but... I guess as long as it's cleaner than the Mackie 1402VLZ I've been temporarily using as a volume controller, it'll do. I'm not doing ultra critical mixing through this thing, but I still want a decent quality device.

Anyone familiar with the Goldpoint stuff? Ultra expensive, stepped attenuators etc... I wonder how the SM Pro Audio unit stacks up?

I'd guess that in a flat out battle to the death in terms of absolute perfect sonic clarity and perfect tracking, the Goldpoint SA2X would beat the SM Pro Audio MPatch 2 (I'd hope so since it's like 4 times the price or whatever), but the SM Pro Audio unit has a few extra features that will really come in handy (like a mute button for instance) that the Goldpoint does not have... so then when you start weighing the price and features, the SM Pro Audio starts to come out on top... BUT, that is assuming that it's SONIC performance is indeed pretty darn good (as in at least as good or better than a Mackie 1402VLZ! ... and not worse!)

Well, at $149, the SM Pro Audio MPatch2 is cheap enough to take a chance on I guess.

Thanks for the reviews so far

A few months ago I replaced a 1202VLZpro in my home setup with the MPatch 2 and I was really amazed, how big the monitor sound improvement was.

It turned out that some annoying sound behaviour that I had blamed the D/A and the DAW for were in fact caused by the Mackie. This was the biggest sound improvement I ever got for some 100 Euro. The VLZ is cool for a lot of things but I would avoid it for monitoring.

As has been mentioned, the headphone amp of the Mpatch is not that great but it's totally ok for headphone monitoring while tracking at home.

Cheers
Old 14th September 2009
  #26
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Meriphew's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PheelTheMusic View Post
The ATTY tracked relatively nicely throughout it's attenuation range although it seemed to impart a very slight haze over the signal in all instances.
I have a couple of ATTY's, and have never experienced this.
Old 14th September 2009
  #27
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robot gigante's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrraaalllfff View Post
I have and use two atty's. I don't have a problem with them, except the fact that the cables come out either side and make them impractical to have close at hand. The nano patch has its connections in the back which seems ideal for my desk, and I was wondering if it's hard to upgrade the pot to something better? Maybe even stepped? I'm not a big diy-er but I'm guessing replacing a pot isn't too hard. Anyone try this? What could be possible pot brands models?

cheers
You could alternatively replace your two ATTY's with an ATTY2D. It has its connections in the back.
Old 14th September 2009
  #28
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rrraaalllfff's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robot gigante View Post
You could alternatively replace your two ATTY's with an ATTY2D. It has its connections in the back.
cheers. yes this is also an option. Hadn't thought of it... i guess the small footprint of the attenuator was also a factor... but i wouldn't mind having some atty2d.
Old 14th September 2009
  #29
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robot gigante's Avatar
Form factor is definitely nicer with it. The bigger knobs are great, and it's nice be able to use it as a monitor controller and also have the other channels available without re-patching anything.

If I needed something portable the ATTY is great but the 2D is what I like the best.
Old 21st September 2009
  #30
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desotoslo's Avatar
 

been researching the atty... so what's the deal? adds haze? F's up the signal? $100 device with a $10 main part? no problems? so many different opinions on this one... i'm not worried about very low volume LR stereo image differences.

thinking of getting something to run in between a phoenix nice DI and the line-in on my interface... to pump the transformers of the phoenix while not clipping my AD.

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